Traffic patterns in Moon under the microscope

Motorists and Moon officials don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to the safety and efficiency of traffic along University Boulevard.

University Boulevard is the home to many different types of businesses such as Sheetz, Primanti Brothers, Ground Round and Walgreens as well as Moon School District’s campus and Robert Morris University.  With all these places lined up on the boulevard, there are motorists, pedestrians and even the occasional bicyclist trying to get from one place to another safely.

However, over time there have been a few accidents that have caused some students and residents to question the safety of the boulevard. Whereas others, such a safety officials, still believe that the road is as safe as it can be. Some even believe that it is better than previous years.

Daniel Giza, 19, a student at Robert Morris, said he believes that traffic has increased due to the higher enrollment at Robert Morris and feels the influx in student drivers is threatening the safety of the boulevard.

“With a greater increase of student drivers, this can only lead to more accidents developing especially during early morning rush hour and the late evening rush hour” said Giza.

Moon Police Chief Leo McCarthy disagrees. McCarthy, who has served for the Moon Police Department for more than 37 years, said that the safety for travelers along the boulevard is better compared to previous years.

“Actually, traffic conditions have improved on University Boulevard over the past fifteen years as several new traffic signals have been added” said McCarthy. He goes on to say that, “In fact, the amount of traffic has dramatically decreased in the years that I have been here.”

McCarthy cited the former airport at the end of the boulevard and shopping center near the intersection of Brodhead Road and University Boulevard. Traffic regularly would be gridlocked at  various times of the day.

The issue of safety on the boulevard goes even deeper with the debate over whether there should be a left-turn light to enter Robert Morris’s Campus.

“As someone who makes this turn on a daily basis coming to Robert Morris, I feel it would be better having a turn light entering into RMU because there are people making the left turn into the shopping center who sometimes make it difficult to see for oncoming traffic” said Giza.

Paul Trunzo, 48, is a resident of Moon Township and has a completely different issue with the same intersection. He is more concerned about the safety of the pedestrians trying to cross the boulevard to get to Robert Morris’s campus.

“The boulevard needs to be better marked with warning signs, like Sewickley roads which have flashing lights cut into the pavement marking for the cross walk so drivers can see the pedestrians better” said Trunzo.

Robert Morris itself is also concerned about the safety of this intersection. Senior Director of Public Relations Jonathan Potts explains that the university is taking the necessary steps towards having a left-turn light installed.

“We (Robert Morris) are certainly are concerned that there is no left-hand turning lane and we have pressed local and state officials for years to place a turning signal there” said Potts.

McCarthy believes that adding this left-turn light could increase the safety of this intersection, but feels that the driver is the main factor that determines the safety of any intersection.

“Even with a turning lane with a green arrow, there will be crashes caused by persons who will fail to stop at a steady red signal and who drive carelessly” said Chief McCarthy.

Finally there is even the argument over whether the boulevard should be redesigned to have a center turn lane, similar to the road layout of Steubenville Pike.

“I feel this would be a good option in order to cut down on the lanes of traffic that need to be crossed to make a turn on or off the boulevard” said Giza supporting the idea.

Moon Township Fire Chief Charlie Belgie, who travels the boulevard as both a commuter and a responder to fire emergencies, disagrees with the idea and feels it would make traffic more chaotic for not only drivers, but also for safety officials.

“A single travel  lane with a turning lane would be a disaster waiting to occur” said Belgie.